Topological Textures in Hybrid Nanostructures

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  • Competition Funded Project (European/UK Students Only)
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Project description

Magnetic skyrmions are non-trivial particle-like spin windings, and they are the result of competition between short range and long range interactions [1]. The research on skyrmions has seen astonishing activity in the past few years because they present rich new physics at the intersection between topology and magnetism, and at the same time they show promise for novel spintronics technologies for data storage (Spintronics is the science of spin-based electronics) [2-4]. In this project we aim at obtaining deep insight to the connection between high-aspect ratio 3D (pillar-type/solid) geometry in nanostructures [5] and the formation of room temperature skyrmionic spin textures [4]. This can help further elucidate the physics of confined topological states, and will help push the research to a new direction, where skyrmions are manipulated in three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures, instead of just flat thin films and surfaces. The student will employ advanced computational approaches (GPU-based micromagnetic simulations) to systematically explore skyrmion textures and use those to propose novel hybrid nanostructures. The proposed devices will be fabricated and then imaged with Lorentz microscopy and in large-scale facilities such as the (i) Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institute, CH, ii) Advanced Light Source, Berkeley, USA, iii) BESSY, Berlin, DE). The work of this project is part of a collaboration with the ETH Zurich Materials department. Research will focus on lithographically defined nanostructures where skyrmions can be isolated, propagated and manipulated. This research project provides a wide range of learning experience: a) Micromagnetic simulations and data analysis, b) Nanofabrication and clean room expertise, c) Measurement/Imaging using X-Rays techniques and Lorentz microscopy. In short this project aims to be at the frontier of magnetic nanotechnology and skyrmion-based technologies.

Preferred background: Physics, Materials Science or Engineering degree.

Person specification

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Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You must be capable of performing at a very high level.
  • You must have a self-driven interest in uncovering and solving unknown problems and be able to work hard and creatively without constant supervision.


Applicants will be required to evidence the following skills and qualifications.

  • You will possess determination (which is often more important than qualifications) although you'll need a good amount of both.
  • You will have good time management.


Applicants will be required to address the following.

  • Discuss your final year Undergraduate project work - and if appropriate your MSc project work.
  • How well does your previous study prepare you for undertaking Postgraduate Research?
  • Comment on your transcript/predicted degree marks, outlining both strong and weak points.
  • Why do you believe you are suitable for doing Postgraduate Research?
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